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By Beachcomber, retrieved from Wikipedia
Nov 1, 2003, 19:17
The Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking representative democracy located on the eastern portion of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, bordering Haiti. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of the 20th century — most notably the thirty-two year reign of the military leader Rafael Leónidas Trujillo — lasted until 1961.
The Dominican Republic should not be confused with Dominica, another Caribbean country.
The country has had a history of changing ownership, with Spain, France, Haiti, Spain again, and the United States taking their turns at ruling Dominican territory amid attempts at independence and self rule. The twentieth century was marked by repeated US intervention in local affairs. Apart from the history of US support for the Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961), the most infamous example of this is the 1965 invasion by American troops in the midst of a Dominican civil war, an uprising that was sparked by an attempt to restore the republic's first democratically-elected president, Juan Bosch, who had been overthrown by an American backed right-wing coup in 1963. This invasion had the effect of establishing the rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966-1978), and ensuring that Juan Bosch's constitutional government never returned to power.
The capital is Santo Domingo. The second largest city is Santiago de los Caballeros.
The country's economy is highly dependent on tourism.
The majority of Dominicans are of mixed European and African descent. About 11% of Dominicans are primarily of African descent, including many Haitian migrants and their descendants. About 16% of Dominicans are of Spanish or other European origin. Dominican culture is essentially Hispanic, and also has many African, Antilliean, and
United States influences
Since the early 1960s, economic problems have led to a vast migration of Dominicans to the US, mainly to large east coast cities. New York City's Washington Heights is so densely populated by Dominicans, it is sometimes referred to as Quisqueya Heights. Quisqueya believed to be the name given to the eastern side of Hispaniola by its original inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, although this version is disputed by some historians. Dominicans are now one of the largest Latino groups in the US.
89% of Dominicans are baptised in the Roman Catholic Church
The Dominican Republic is known for a form of music called merengue, which has been popular since the mid- to late-1800s.
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